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Joran van der Sloot challenges extradition to U.S.

From Mayra Cuevas, InSession
updated 8:25 AM EDT, Wed May 9, 2012
A conviction in the United States could affect Joran van der Sloot's chances of being paroled in Peru, his lawyer says.
A conviction in the United States could affect Joran van der Sloot's chances of being paroled in Peru, his lawyer says.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dutchman says he'd rather finish serving sentence in Peru, lawyer says
  • Van der Sloot was sentenced to 28 years in prison in Peru for a murder there
  • He is charged with extortion in Alabama in connection with the Natalee Holloway case

(CNN) -- Joran van der Sloot told a judge and prosecutor Tuesday that he would prefer to finish serving a 28-year murder sentence in Peru rather than be extradited to the United States to face charges related to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, his Peruvian lawyer said.

Representatives from the U.S. Embassy and the FBI attended the extradition hearing, which was not open to the public, Maximo Altez told InSession on Tru TV.

A conviction in the United States could affect van der Sloot's chances of being paroled in Peru, said Altez. He noted that a long-standing extradition treaty between the two countries means that van der Sloot will likely be extradited, despite his stated preference about remaining in Peru.

Peruvian judges in January sentenced the Dutchman to 28 years in prison for the murder in 2010 of Stephany Flores. He is also the prime suspect in the disappearance of Holloway. U.S. authorities want to try van der Sloot on charges of extortion and wire fraud in the Holloway case.

Joran van der Sloot's jailhouse letters
Van der Sloot gets 28 years for murder
Natalee Holloway declared legally dead

"I think he will be extradited within the next three months," Altez said last month. "He will go to trial in the United States. Once he is sentenced, he will return to Peru to finish serving his 28 years, and then go back to the States to serve whatever sentence he gets there."

In June 2010, a federal grand jury in Alabama indicted him after allegations that he tried to extort $250,000 from Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway. Van der Sloot offered to provide what turned out to be bogus information about the whereabouts of Holloway's remains in exchange for the money, according to the indictment.

He was allegedly given $25,000, which authorities say he used to travel to Peru for a poker tournament.

If found guilty of extortion, he could be sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Van der Sloot admitted to killing Flores, 21, in his Lima hotel room. The judges gave him a sentence two years short of the 30-year maximum. They ordered he be expelled from Peru at the end of his sentence and required him to pay about $74,500 in reparations to Flores' relatives.

Van der Sloot confessed to robbery in addition to murder, admitting that he stole Flores' belongings, including more than $300 in local currency, credit cards and the victim's van as a means to leave the country. He fled to Chile and was arrested a few days later.

Another van der Sloot attorney, Jose Luis Jimenez, has said that his client was under special stress the day of the 2010 murder, which marked five years after Holloway, an 18-year-old from Alabama, disappeared while vacationing on Aruba.

Van der Sloot, who was among the last people reported to have been seen with Holloway, was detained twice but never charged in the case.

"The world had been against him for five years before this case, for a murder he said he never committed and for which there is no evidence whatsoever," Jimenez has said.

Investigators have said they believe van der Sloot killed Flores after she found something related to the Holloway case on his computer while visiting him in his hotel room. The two met while van der Sloot was in town for the poker tournament.

Judges described how Flores hit van der Sloot in the face after reading the item on Holloway, leading him to hit her in the face with his elbow. Flores fainted and van der Sloot tried to strangle her, but she was still breathing, so he suffocated her with his shirt.

Van der Sloot then tried to clean the room by removing the sheets and changing his bloodied shirt, they said.

He was caught in a taxi near the Chilean central coastal city of Vina del Mar.

Holloway's body has not been found, and no one has been charged in relation to the case in Aruba.

About 6½ years after Holloway was last reported seen, in May 2005, she was declared legally dead.

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